Look Unto Me

Look unto me

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and

there is none else.” Isa 45:22

Introduction:

Today’s reading and in fact the whole of chapter 45 of Isaiah is quite remarkable.

For one thing it demonstrates God’s sovereign plan for Israel. In verse 1, we see

king Cyrus mentioned here in scripture some 200 years or more before the event

foretold.

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have

holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to

open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;” Isa 45:1

I think it is significant that the Lord makes this plea (to look unto him); especially

in view of what would happen through Cyrus and in particular at the end of the

captivity in Babylon. That is to say: through the decree of Cyrus the people of God

would return to the land and rebuild the temple. Obviously those hearing Isaiah’s

prophecy would have had no idea as to the fulfillment of these words.

As we see in verse 4, what makes this prophecy even more profound is that the

Lord addresses Cyrus personally referring to him in the 2nd person pronoun (you

or thou):

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by

thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” Isa 45:4

Sure to God’s plan, we read in Ezra [and also 2 Chronicles] at the conclusion of

the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah:

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the

kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at

Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” Ezra 1:2

Right throughout scripture we see that despite apostasy, the Lord has always kept

a remnant. Through the preaching of Isaiah, [despite many turning from the

truth] the Lord was able to maintain a godly seed and so when the Israelites

finally went into captivity a remnant was preserved and returned to the land.

The particular focus of our message today is verse 22 which reads:

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and

there is none else.” Isa 45:22

I have no desire to take this verse out of context; nevertheless it is one of those

stand alone verses and emphasizes man’s need of a saviour. This is God’s

constant plea; that all would look to him and be saved.

What we have in this verse and the entire chapter [for that matter] is something

of an outline for the Christian apologetic. In it we see many of God’s attributes:

The Lord declares himself as Creator (vv 7-12)

We see his omniscience and foreknowledge regarding Cyrus

We see his omnipresence in his appeal to all the ends of the earth

We see his immortality in that he transcends time

The area of apologetics is something all believers should have a reasonable grasp

on, since we are commanded to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in

us.

I have 4 points today:

1. The entreatment of his promise

2. The essence of his promise

3. The extent of his promise

4. The endorsement of his promise

 

 

1 The entreatment of his promise

Look unto me…..”

In our bible verse this morning we see the Lord entreat or plea with his people

(and in fact all people) to look unto him.

It is no secret as we read our bibles we see that Israel had constantly falling away

from the Lord and eventually they would find themselves taken away captive into

Babylon for 70 years. Throughout the book of Isaiah we see stern rebukes as well

as reminders of the Lord’s tender mercies which are new every morning for those

that do look to him. And right throughout the book of Isaiah and particularly in

chapter 45, the Lord declares who he is and reminds his people that he alone is

worthy to be praised and that every knee shall bow to him (whether willingly or

not).

The problem for Israel was that their attention and vision was often directed

toward everything other than the Lord; this is despite the fact that he had proved

himself over and over. And yet over and over they turned away from God to

worship idols; worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.

In Psalm 115 we read that those that worship idols become like them; spiritually

speaking they become blind. This is because the god of this world blinds the eyes

of the unbeliever. Being given over to this, they are incapable of looking to the

Lord in their state of spiritual blindness; and unless the Lord had raised up

prophets and judges to speak on his behalf, they might have remained like this.

We see here in 2 Chronicles, the state of the people just prior to going into

captivity.

[Turn to]

And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and

idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet

he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.  2 Chronicles 24:18-19

“So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do

worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children

of Israel.” 2Ch 33:9

From our perspective, it is quite disturbing that the people of an holy God would

commit worse sins than the heathens they were meant to displace; idolatry,

sexual immorality, child sacrifice being among these things.

Yet as a society do we think we are any better: our hearts and minds are filled

with everything other the true and living God. Promiscuity is the norm and in

Australia we abort unwanted babies at a rate of around 80,000 per year.

Nevertheless [as far as Israel goes] the Lord shows his faithfulness again and

again and we see evidence here as he entreats his people to look unto him.

Truly, the Lord invites ALL those that would “look unto him”, to do so. Because

we know in terms of our greatest need [which is salvation] when we look to

ourselves we are lost.

Solomon, the wisest man ever to have lived found this out the hard way; in

communing with his own heart all he found was vanity and vexation of spirit.

This is because, [as the book of Jeremiah tells us] the human heart is deceitful

above all things and desperately wicked. It stands to reason then, that if man

looks to himself then all he will find is lies. On the other hand, it has to be a

blessing to know that when we indeed look to the Lord with all our hearts we

shall find him.

It is only when we take counsel of the Lord that we have any chance of seeing

ourselves and the world around us from his perspective.

The prophet himself [in his encounter with a thrice holy God]; when he sees the

Lord as it were high and lifted up; is left to lament these words:

“…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell

in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the

LORD of hosts.” Isa 6:5

But God is a reasonable God; he doesn’t ask us to do something that is

impossible. As we see from the outset in chapter 1.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as

scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they

shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

In fact even in the process of looking to him, the Lord has already been working

in the unbeliever’s heart and pointing; turning his heart as it were, toward

himself.

Even as Jesus said:

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and

I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

This is the miracle of his sovereignty [that God draws us to himself through

various circumstances] and yet at the same time we are still 100% accountable. If

we choose to reject God and not to look then we must suffer the consequences.

If we fast forward about 700 years [through scripture we can do that] we see the

Lord provided yet another opportunity for his people to look unto him; this time

manifest in the flesh in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the gospel of John,

Jesus says:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of

man be lifted up:” John 3:14

And also

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32

Here Jesus makes reference to the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites in the

book of Numbers. As we know they were prone to complain and murmur; on this

occasion the Lord sends fiery serpents to inflict a deadly bite on the people.

You might think that the punishment was a bit excessive; but the Lord actually

considers murmuring to be quite serious. When we murmur or complain about

others, we are actually indirectly (or not) complaining about the Lord. It is an

indictment on his provision in our lives.

After interceding for the people, Moses was commanded to make a serpent of

brass and put it on a pole. God’s command to the people was simply to look and

live.

“And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass,

that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he

lived.” Numbers 21:9

The picture which we have of the brass serpent which Moses put upon the pole is

a picture of his very crucifixion. Judgement in the bible is represented by the

metal brass and the picture that we get from this story in the book of Numbers is

sin being judged.

And now have an even more profound reality in the Lord Jesus Christ; whose

death on the cross was also the judgement for sin.

John the Baptist introduces the Lord by crying out: “behold the Lamb that taketh

away the sin of the world”.

Those who by faith beheld the brass serpent in the Book of Numbers were cured

of an otherwise incurable snake bite; those who by faith behold the Lord Jesus

are cured of the otherwise incurable disease of sin.

2 Corinthians explains Christ’s vicarious death further like this:

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made

the righteousness of God in him.” 2Co 5:21

[I hope you can see the relevance of this. It is important to realize when you do

“look unto me” as the Lord says, that you will understand who you are looking to

and why.]

In light of this and as simple as the command is [to look unto me], remember

this is not a casual look but one that would see God for who he is (holy) and in

doing so, the sinner would see himself as he truly is.

It is only when you seek God and search for him with all your heart that you will

find him.

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your

heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

We are also minded to seek the Lord while he may be found and to call upon him

while he is near. You need to know that if God has been speaking to your heart

and you have resisted, you are treading on dangerous ground.

When the Lord asks us to seek him, he is serious.

He says in verse 19 of Isaiah chapter 45:

“I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed

of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things

that are right.” Isa 45:19

This message which the Lord had given through his prophets wasn’t delivered

secretly; it went out into all the world and we are assured that his word doesn’t

return void. We will look at this a little later.

2 The essence of his promise

“…..and be ye saved,”

If the Lord entreats us by saying “look unto me” he now commands or pleads for

us to be saved. This is the essence of his promise; there is no other purpose here

for to look unto the Lord except to be saved.

Saved from what you may ask: nothing less than the righteous judgement due to

you as a consequence of your sin. Therefore this entreaty serves as a warning

also, because the consequence of rejecting the gospel is dire.

Richard Baxter was a Puritan; born in 1615. In his book “Call to the unconverted

to turn and live” he sheds light on both sides of this equation: This is to say; look

to God and be saved or look not unto God and be damned.

In his book he draws wonderfully on the following verse:

[Turn to]

“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of

the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye

from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11

He [Richard Baxter] emphasizes the insanity of rejecting gospel, stating that this

is a form of madness and that a person couldn’t be any madder.

“Can you be madder than you are already? Or at least, can there be a more

dangerous madness than to neglect your everlasting welfare, and willfully

undo yourselves?”

This is the utter deceitfulness of sin; that a person sees not their need of salvation

and therefore need of a Saviour.

Not only is it madness but it is also blind madness. A person who is physically

blind, knows he is blind. But through the deceit of sin [which is a form of

spiritual blindness]; the person who is affected by it, doesn’t actually know that

he is blind.

We have this perfectly illustrated in John’s gospel.

[Turn to]

In chapter 9 we have the story of a man; blind from birth and whom Jesus heals

on the Sabbath. Rather than believing in the miracle and the Lord who performed

the miracle, the Pharisees preferred to challenge the him for breaking the

Sabbath. This sort of short-sighted behaviour is also typical of spiritual blindness.

The Lord’s comments to the Pharisees at the conclusion of this is:

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not

might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the

Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we

blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but

now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John 9:39-41

The kind of self-righteousness or spiritual blindness displayed by the Pharisees is

seen in Proverbs:

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who

can find?” Proverbs 20:6

If we go back to our passage in Ezekiel, we need to ask ourselves the same

question which God asks the house of Israel, “why will you die?”.

The answer to this question is as manifold as the solution is simple:

There are many reasons why a person would in effect, chose to die.

The deceit of riches and love for the world.

Pride and the denial of sin and its consequences.

Fear: fear of the unknown, the fear of man and what others might say if we

profess Christ as Saviour. [Revelation tells us plainly that the fearful and

unbelieving that have their place in the lake which burns with fire and

brimstone].

In Matthew 22, [The parable of the wedding feast] the Lord gives a perfect

analysis: there are those that would get into heaven by any means other than the

means provided [via the cross and salvation by grace through faith] and there are

those that have no interest in heaven or eternal life and give all manner of

reasoning as to why they would not come to Christ.

The Lord’s succinct response: many are called, few are chosen.

The simple answer to the simple question “what must I do to be saved” is this:

“believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”.

The simple answer to the question “why will you die” and the root of the problem

is unbelief and an unwillingness to accept the truth: it is those that receive not the

love of the truth which are damned according to scripture.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is

condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the

only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come

into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds

were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the

light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:18-20

At the conclusion of this story in John Chapter 9, we see the man who was healed

of his blindness believe on the Lord and be saved and the Pharisees believe not

and be damned.

There is only one cure for the spiritual blindness which prevents a man from

looking unto God and being saved; and that is the word of God. It is his word

which is a light.

Jesus has some stern words to the apostate church of these end times (remember

these were poor, naked, and blind).

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and

white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy

nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou

mayest see.” Revelation 3:18

This is in direct contrast to the church of Philadelphia who were commended for

keeping God’s word.

3 The extent of his promise

“…all the ends of the earth”

Even as much as the church was a mystery in the Old Testament, his promise and

offer of salvation was clearly extended to the whole world as it is stated here in

Isaiah and reiterated in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world…”

[And in 1 John we also read]

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the

sins of the whole world.” 1Jn 2:2

Again, this promise is for the whole world; it was then just as it is now; it’s not

surprising then (with 20/20 hindsight) to see it expressed here in Isaiah or for

that matter anywhere in the bible; as I like to say in regard to the bible itself: it is

God’s plan of salvation for all people for all time. So when the Lord says in Isaiah

“all the ends of the earth”, it is worth examining.

Firstly we see this fact that the gospel message had gone out to all the world even

in Old Testament times confirmed by Paul in Romans:

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth,

and their words unto the ends of the world.” Rom 10:18

Without doubt as you read through your bible it is amazing to realize how true

this is [we can accept it on face value but it certainly comes alive when you see it

played out in scripture]; and we have many examples of this; the renown or fame

of the Lord being sounded abroad [the God of the Hebrews wasn’t unknown]:

We have the example of Rahab the harlot in the land of Jericho and her response

to the spies who went in to survey the land.

[Turn to]

And she [Rahab] said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you

the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the

inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD

dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what

ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan,

Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these

things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any

man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven

above, and in earth beneath. Joshua 2:9-11

[And now in light of that confession, Rahab gains a mention in Hebrews 11]

In Joshua chapter 9 we see the inhabitants of Gibeon similarly tell of the Lord’s

fame:

“And they said unto him, From a very far country[that’s actually not true; they

lied] thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we

have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,” Joshua 9:9

I don’t have time to elaborate on all these examples but we also know that:

• The people of Nineveh were preached to by Jonah

• Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy by Elisha

• Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon declared the Lord to be a “God of gods”

in the book of Daniel.

Notwithstanding all of these examples I think the greatest testimony to the truth

and the extent to which the gospel, went and continues to go out into all the

world [just as we have been commissioned to preach] is in the book of Revelation.

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to

open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy

blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”

Revelation 5:9

We have to remember, the Lord isn’t willing that any perish but that all would

come to repentance: which is a spiritual turn-around and therefore undergo a

change of mind and heart in regards to who God is according to his word.

With this in mind, if the love of God doesn’t constrain us to share the gospel far

and wide; no matter who they are, then this verse testifies against us: the gospel

of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes..

Knowing all of this, should compel us to share the gospel and I sincerely pray that

it does.

4 The endorsement of his promise

“: for I am the Lord and there is none else”.

The very first words of this verse [“look unto me”] beg the question; if the

children of Israel weren’t looking to the Lord, who or what were they looking to

[and we saw the answer to this in our first point]?

We notice here that this endorsement is based on who God is:

He says “for I am the Lord and there is none else” and states this [or words to

that effect] 7 times in this chapter.

As we know, a promise is only as good as the one who is promising it. I could

promise you $1million but if I don’t have the means to pay, then the promise is

worthless.

God clearly communicates his credentials, attributes and character not only to

them but to us also, through his word. So it is, when we talk about God, we are

strictly referring to the God of the bible [the God who is revealed through

scripture] ; I say this, lest we be guilty of preaching another Jesus.

If we jump forward [from the time of Isaiah] to the period immediately after the

captivity, I think we gain a valuable insight into the importance of Ezra’s reading

of the law in Nehemiah chapter 8 and possibly the contrition of the people upon

realizing how far they had departed from the Lord and his commandments. At

the end of the day, the people needed reminding of who God is.

Even as the psalmist says:

“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?” 2Sa 22:32

In verse 23 of Isaiah the Lord punctuates his endorsement with these words: “…I

have sworn by myself”

This is no ordinary oath; when the Lord swears by himself, it is serious business.

We get an indication in Hebrews in relation to the surety of God’s promise or

oath to Abraham:

[Turn to]

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no

greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and

multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he

obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for

confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more

abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel,

confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was

impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for

refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an

anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that

within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an

high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Hebrews 6:13-20

Just as God is eternal, so are his promises and likewise are his word and counsel:

these things are settled in heaven and cannot be changed.

Again in terms of who God is we see:

That the same God who delivered David [2 Samuel 22] from all his perils is the

same God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush and delivered the Israelites

from Egypt:

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say

unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14

Sadly, it seems necessary here in Isaiah [as it was later on in Nehemiah], that the

Lord needed to remind his people of who he was; since they had succumbed to

religious pluralism; that is having many gods.

We see this in Jeremiah:

[Turn to]

“For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and

according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that

shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.” Jeremiah 11:13

This verse always astounds me when I think that there would have been

hundreds of suburbs and therefore just as many gods. We know that the first

commandment clearly states that we are not to have other gods before him.

The Lord says:

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy

God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto

the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Exodus 20:5

This is the problem with idolatry; for one thing, we cannot serve two masters: we

will love the one and hate the other.

We often think of jealousy in the negative sense; but in the pure sense of the

word, the Lord desires to protect us from evil: When God says he is a jealous God

and will have no other gods before him; this is a good thing. Verse 6 states that

he shows mercy to those that love him and keep his commandments.

The Lord warned the Israelites to separate themselves from the people of the land

and to have nothing to do with them or their false gods, lest they learn their ways.

Similarly we are reminded not to love the world nor the things that are in the

world.

We read here God’s warning to the Israelites regarding the nations which

inhabited the land of Canaan.

[Turn to]

“Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of

these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and

scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this

good land which the LORD your God hath given you.” Joshua 23:13

Apart from being a painful image [that is to have a thorn in your eye]; love for the

world and consequently idolatry blinds you even as the god of this world has

blinded the eyes of the unbeliever [even as a literal thorn would physically blind

you].

The apostle Paul makes his own declaration with regard to false gods, in his

famous oratory in the book of Acts:

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive

that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your

devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:22-23

The gods of the ancient Greeks may no longer be worshipped today but that

doesn’t mean that religious pluralism is dead and buried; we still see “Jesus” [in

inverted commas] listed among a Pantheon of other gods: each having equal

status in the eyes of the world and particularly of the New Age Movement.

But what we see here in our text today is the exclusivity of the Christian gospel:

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under

heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Act 4:12

[And yet at the same time we see the inclusivity of the gospel]

Unfortunately:

More and more as we see perilous times coming, we also see “another Jesus” [a

sanitized tolerable and tolerant version] being presented by liberal churches, the

Ecumenical Movement and the World Parliament of Religions…. we know how

this all plays out: A Global Religion which worships the beast.

Just as God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, Satan will be in the

antichrist alienating the world from God.

It is so important for us as believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the

Lord; not just for the sake of own personal growth but to be able to communicate

to a lost world, exactly who God is [although it should be said that a mature

believer naturally shares the gospel]

The fact is that most unbelievers aren’t going to pick up the bible and read it; and

since [in effect] we are the only bible that they WILL read it is so important to

present a consistent witness; and especially considering that most unbelievers

believe the bible is filled with contradictions: we don’t want to confirm this by

being contradictory ourselves.

Paul [in Acts 17] continues on from these verses with an amazing apologetic;

demonstrating his ability to reason with the unbeliever.

Even without the knowledge contained in the bible we are told that unbelievers

are without excuse in regard to believing in the existence of God; this by virtue of

his creation:

[Turn to]

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath

shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the

world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his

eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that,

when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but

became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:19-21

This is the starting point of belief; it is the belief in a Creator. We know that in

order to come to God (and thus look unto him), we must believe that he exists.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must

believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek

him.” Hebrews 11:6

In regard to who God is, the bible reveals a personal infinite God; one who is

knowable and who desires to have relationship with you. As Francis Schaeffer

puts it in his book of the same title, this is: “The God who is there”. This is the

God who entreats you with the words “look unto me and be ye saved”.

The only way to know God in the first instance is to be born again.

Conclusion

Finally:

As I said one of the wonderful things about our passage today is that it gives us

something of an overview of the Christian apologetic. We have the God who is,

calling all mankind to himself in order to be saved. With this in mind it must (as I

have already said) encourage us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our

Saviour; both for our own benefit and also the benefit of our Christian witness.

For this to happen we must read our bibles.

[Turn to]

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the

pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high

thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into

captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

We might think it funny that the Israelites were charged with having so many

gods; even as those around them had their various gods. And yet every time we

entertain a wrong perception of God, we are in fact creating a god of our own

imagination. (We only have to look at the book: “The Shack”) The bible tells us

that this is idolatry.

The previous verse [in 2 Corinthians] confirms the fact that the only way to truly

know God is through his word.

On the other hand:

More and more, there are those that would describe themselves as “spiritual”;

having arrived at this conclusion, not through the Lord Jesus who is the gateway

to a true spiritual life but through the vain imaginations of their own hearts. They

follow teachers and gurus such as Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Louise Hay

and a multitude of false teachers.

At the end of the day they are looking to themselves and putting themselves in

the place of God thus making themselves God. We look at the mantra of the New

Age Movement: it is exactly that: I am God.

This message permeates all of humanistic thought and it is the very first lie told

by the serpent in the garden: “ye shall be as gods”. Nothing could be further from

the truth.

The God of the bible clearly teaches that he is separate from his creation; contrary

to the pantheistic (all is god) philosophy that has infiltrated Western society

through Eastern mysticism. This is the world we are living in and this is what we

have to contend with if we are going to share the gospel with others.

In view of the truth claims of the Christian gospel, we find that:

Truth and mercy cannot be separated; so often we see those two words side by

side in scripture and for good reason.

The truth is that God is who he is and not who we want him to be: he is a holy and

righteous God; before whom we must stand on judgement day.

The truth is that man is fallen; separated from God by sin and desperately in need

of his mercy.

In the New Testament epistles we have this birds-eye view of seeing those of a

gentile nation doing exactly what our scripture says: “Look unto me, and be ye

saved, all the ends of the earth”.

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you,

and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus,

which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

Many of us here can completely identify with this. When presented with the

gospel and you saw the truth of who God is and the mercy which he was

extending to you; responded in similar fashion to the apostle Peter who said “to

whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life”.

With this in mind:

Let us continue to look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Let us pray.

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